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The International Writers Magazine: From our Vigo Correspondent

Spain Spins out of Control
• James Skinner
Whilst Greece burns, Portugal sinks further into the quagmire, Ireland appears to be surviving and Italy is on the brink of joining the PIGS (short for the European countries in trouble) not to mention the remaining international chaotic arena, Spain is literally running wild.


You’ve all seen the riots in Madrid, listened to Rajoy in the UN yap on about Gibraltar and the European Union, IMF, OECD and other financial guru’s economic mumbo jumbo on Spain’s debt with the possible eventual outcome of a rescue plan to drag the country out of the mud. You’ve also read or seen on television Artur Mas, the President of Catalonia call for new regional elections and vowing to hold a referendum on the region’s future independence. My following remarks puts icing on the cake and wait for the final blow up that is bound to come before the end of the year.

So what’s the latest situation in Spain?

The title of this piece is not my statement but one made by a prominent commentator on television. He was referring in particular to the national institutions that include such basic ones as education, health and the law. ‘We have the worst academic results including drop outs and failures in Europe. Many of today’s school kids can hardly read or write let alone understand multiplication and division. The kids in Catalonia have no idea about the rivers in Spain whilst those in the Basque country don’t know who ‘Don Quixote’ was. Simple civil court cases take years to be resolved whilst a Galician who visits Madrid has to pay for medical services because each region has its own health service. Whenever a Catalan appears on state television, as his speech is in his regional language it has to be shown with sub-titles. This is madness!’

This is a short a précised summary of his dissertation. If we now add the whole geo-political mishmash of autonomous regions that I have been harping on for years and relate them to the present economic crisis it just adds to the main comment. Spain is out of control!

The present government has not complied with any of its promises, in fact it has gone ahead and done completely the opposite. Apart from ‘trying’ to comply with the main economic reforms demanded by the ECB (European Central Bank) and Mrs. Merkel – which is the main reason for the present mayhem going on – which Rajoy, the PM is applying with extremely rigorous actions; such as tax increases and cutbacks in public and other spending; the rest of his reforms have just gone by the wayside. Spain still has too many politicians and civil servants and no sign of cutting back. The government continues to hand out taxpayers money to trade unions and thousands of other blood sucking institutions, has done nothing about reducing town councils or provincial governments, has dropped by the wayside such changes in the law affecting abortion and regional linguistic dictatorship, to give examples, has given in to ETA by releasing murderous terrorists and in general continued to give a blind eye to the mounting demands of separatism coming from Catalonia, the Basque country and possibly Galicia.

The banks, especially the remaining Savings Banks are still in a turmoil regarding toxic assets, capitalization and what’s worse, small, medium and rich customers are closing their accounts and sending their money abroad. It is so confusing that because of other problems in the country they are no longer front line news. I’ve given up thinking about them.

According to the UK Daily Telegraph 26.09.12: 'The odds on Spain becoming the latest southern European country to appoint a technocratic government to try to manage the country out of its chaos have shortened dramatically'.

Then there is corruption that continues to pop up all over the place. ‘Mafioso’ politicians are constantly appearing before the courts and Sr. Montoro, the Finance Minister could be seen in parliament almost crying about the menace of fiscal fraud. You could see the expression on his face: ‘It just won’t bloody well go away!’ How will it when over five million Spaniards are unemployed and have to live off their old age pension grandparents! Moonlighting is keeping the lid off civil unrest; for the time being.
Pretty grim picture so far, right?

To be honest, I’m exhausted. My reports on this country over the past two years have become almost monotonous. And yet between now and the end of the year the crux will arrive and the real climax is bound to take place. Will Spain survive the onslaught of creeping poverty as more middle class families join the Red Cross food parcel handouts? I’m not kidding! Caritas, the Catholic Church’s non profit organization is saturated. The latest figures of hungry humans queuing at their restaurants have jumped by 140% since last year! Are the Madrid protestors the end of the beginning? Will civil unrest turn into violence beyond control?
I’ll leave it here, wait for further outcome over the next few weeks and add updates as the situation develops.
Update 28.09.12:
Source Europa Press: The Government included in the draft budget law for 2013 pension increases of 1% and also keep the compensation for the deviation of the CPI for the month of November...
Proposals also include raising VAT to 21% and raising the tax on the lottery.

© James Skinner.
September 28th 2012.

Blaming Mrs Merkel
(9.20.12 update)
James Skinner on Spain in Crisis

Only last night yet another Molotov cocktail was thrown at a financial centre just across the road from where I live reassuring the Galician people that the movement known as ‘Galicia Resistance’ is alive and kicking.

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